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When you are your own boss, you have to find ways to keep moving forward. Every. Single. Day. Since there is no one else around to crack the whip for you, you’ll have to crack it yourself.
But staying motivated isn’t always easy. It’s not as simple as getting up in the morning and saying “Come on, self. Get motivated!”. So we’ve compiled this list of motivation hacks for freelancers for you to add to your toolkit. Work them into your daily routine or pull them out on a particularly unmotivating day.
Do whatever it takes to keep pushing on. Because when you’re an entrepreneur, any day you aren’t moving forward, you’re falling behind.
If you work at home, it can be tempting to lie around in your pajamas all day. But lazy dress can lead to lazy performance. If you have a rusty transmission that makes it difficult to shift from groggy morning to time for business, consider always getting dressed for work.
This doesn’t mean you need a suit and tie (though that might work for some people). It just means that you change into clothes that signal to your brain “Hey, time to make some dough!”. By doing this every single morning, your mind will become conditioned to motivate itself to get down to business as soon as you’re dressed for work.
Sometimes, you’ve got such a mountain of things to do that it’s hard to be motivated to do any of them. If your to-do list is strangling your motivation to death, find the easiest, quickest thing that you can check off. Achieving one success, no matter how small, will get you into a doer’s mindset and motivate you to keep on going.
Another one of the best motivation hacks for when your to-do list is looming over you is to work on whatever seems most fun at the given moment. Maybe you’ve been wanting to build a new landing page on your website for a while, but being inundated with orders has constantly moved this to the back burner. Working on this fun design task for an hour may jump start your motivation so that you can get down to the higher priority tasks.
Working out does more than build muscle and burn calories. It also improves your motivation significantly. Physical exercise releases endorphins, the hormones responsible for coping with stress. They also leave you feeling energized, and are responsible for the post-workout euphoric feeling commonly known as “runner’s high”.
So if your day is going bad, and you just can’t motivate yourself to get down to business, consider going for a jog or hitting the weight room. Heck, even just a few sets of jumping jacks could be all you need to reset your mindset.
Since freelancers often work solo, they don’t benefit from the team motivation that sometimes comes with a traditional work environment. In an office job, friendly competition and a desire to not let others down often helps us stay motivated. But when you’re working by yourself, failure generally means you aren’t failing anyone but yourself.
Consider finding an accountability buddy or two to recreate a team environment. You can get together weekly or even more often to check in on each other’s progress. Ideally, this mastermind group is made up of other like-minded entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the best motivation hacks to stay productive.
There’s a reason that cardio classes aren’t set to relaxing easy listening. Sometimes, all you need to get you pepped up is a good dose of energizing tunes blasting in the background. Some people even create a work time playlist so that their mind associates particular songs with getting down to business. Research even suggests that listening to your favorite music fights back against boredom and exhaustion by boosting positive emotional feelings.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you expect to get there? Sure, you might have the general intention of “earning more money” in mind, but that’s not particularly motivating. It’s kinda like when you are trying to get in shape. “Lose weight” isn’t a concrete goal.
Instead, set goals for the year, the quarter, and the month that include a target and can be tracked. For example, “By the end of the year, I’ll acquire 10 new clients” or “Over the next three months, I will increase my profits by $300 every month”.
Setting goals gives you direction, but tracking them keeps you motivated. Put them on your whiteboard, create a spreadsheet, or find a good app. Then, chart your progress along the way. This visual reminder of your growth will serve as a regular dose of motivation.
It’s easy to burn yourself out if you never stop working. While a strong work ethic is needed to succeed in freelancing, penciling in leisure time is one of the most overlooked motivation hacks. Rest and relaxation offer you a chance to escape from your work so that you can go back to it with a full tank of gas.
Whether it’s an hour of time you set aside every day or a weekly gathering with friends, your “play time” gives you something to look forward to. Like a light at the end of the tunnel when you seemed swallowed by your work.
Your Big Why is the reason for doing the things you are doing. We call it a BIG Why because it should hit at your deep down purpose, rather than simply your surface level motivations. While your surface level reason for building a freelancing business may be to make enough money to live comfortably, you should dig deeper than that.
You could make money working a day job, but why did you choose freelancing? Was it because you wanted a flexible schedule to spend more time with your family? Was it so that you could travel the world while you work?
Find your Big Why, write it down somewhere you’ll see it every day, and read it out loud as a daily shot of motivation to keep grinding even when things get tough.
It’s not always easy to stay motivated, but the more ways you have to trick your mind into feeling energized and successful, the better you’ll be able to keep moving forward. Every. Single. Day.